Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), March 31st, is a day of celebration.
It’s an annual event celebrating transgender people, their accomplishments and their place in our communities. While a large part of the general public might only know about transgender people from what they hear about the controversial “bathroom bill” or statistics of discrimination against the transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) communities, TDOV is a moment to recognize and celebrate trans people. Advocates hope that by increasing the visibility of trans people in their communities the rates of violence and suicides will decrease as acceptance rises.
We see you, we see each other
On March 31st, and all year long, you can be a part of turning visibility into action:
1. Educate ourselves about gender identity.
2. Don’t rely on your trans friends to be your only source of information about trans or GNC topics.
3. Practice trans-friendly pronouns, y’all.
This super simple way to respect someone’s identity starts with a super simple question, “What are your pronouns?” Pronouns are important for trans and GNC people because their physical sex does not determine their gender identity. Using the wrong pronouns, or misgendering, is a form of disrespect and can even threaten an individual’s safety.
Some gender-neutral pronouns are: they/them/theirs/y’all.
4. Learn about laws that affect Transgender and GNC communities in Georgia and Nationally.
Some laws that affect the community include Name Change Laws, Birth Certificate Laws, Drivers License Policies, State Hate Crime statutes and civil rights bills. Go an extra step. Find which representatives support transgender and LGBTQ rights and send them a Thank You letter.
5. Donate/volunteer/support groups that support the transgender community.
There are tons of national and local communities that need support. Always read the mission of any organization you’re thinking of supporting to make sure it matches your own values Most transgender nonprofits include efforts like influencing policies, ending discrimination, supporting public education, caring for the wellbeing of adults and youth, mental health support and legal aid to protect their human rights. Here’s a list of just a few:
On the national level: The National Center for Transgender Equality, “The National Center for Transgender Equality advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people. In the nation’s capital and throughout the country, NCTE works to replace disrespect, discrimination, and violence with empathy, opportunity, and justice.”
On the state level: Georgia Equality, “Georgia Equality’s mission is to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and our allies throughout the state. We are two organizations – united with a common vision but serving unique functions in our work to achieve equality. Georgia Equality, Inc. works year-round to pass pro-equality legislation and elect fair-minded elected officials. Through the Equality Foundation of Georgia, we conduct voter registration and educational activities, provide information to decision makers, and work to organize and mobilize LGBT residents and allies to advance equality in urban, suburban, and rural communities across the state.
On the local level: The Equality Clinic, “An interprofessional endeavor dedicated to abolishing barriers to health care, serving the health needs of the underinsured LGBTQ community, and educating current and future providers on cooperative, compassionate patient care.
The Shepard Project, “a youth hangout/safe space for ages 14-20 who are LGBTQ+, allies, and friends in Augusta, Georgia.”
6. Support the person, not just the label.
We are all unique. Being trans or GNC is only a single part of a person’s identity, it is not the totality of someone. The trans community encompasses different races, ethnic backgrounds, abilities, professions, ages, journeys and experiences. TDOV is a day to acknowledge and support the value of trans people within all of those different communities.
7. Recognize and challenge microaggressions and transphobia.
Microaggressions are defined as brief and daily commonplace verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities, intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative slights or insults towards another person or community.
Some common microaggressions include:
- Asking what someone’s ‘real name’ is. This implies that their chosen name is somehow wrong or not real and this question disrespects their identity.
- Using words like “regular” or “normal” when comparing cisgender people, individuals whose gender identity matches their birth sex. This implies that trans or GNC people are “irregular” and “abnormal.”
- Refusing to use the proper pronouns. When you ignore someone’s pronouns, you’re communicating that their identity shouldn’t be acknowledged.
- Asking invasive questions. Questions about gender identities, sexual activities and healthcare are invasive and disrespectful to a person’s privacy.
Transphobia is the fear, hatred or mistrust of people who are transgender. Often, this can manifest into derogatory language, bullying, discrimination and even violence.
You can challenge microaggressions and transphobia through simple actions. First, stay calm. The person may not realize their actions are insensitive. Politely interrupt them and correct their indiscretions. Or, if you witness someone being harassed approach them and start a conversation with them, ignoring the harasser. Ask them about the weather, the last movie they watched or their favorite T.V. show until the person leaves or go with them to a new location away from the aggression.
8. Don’t ‘out’ your trans friend.
Gender identity is very personal. If someone has chosen to come out to you, that means they trust you. Always ask if you’re allowed to share this information with others and respect their privacy if they say ‘no.’ If you don’t have their consent to talk about their identity, politely change the subject if it comes up in conversation with others.
9. Connect with someone who’s trans or GNC and share how they’ve positively impacted you and that you value them.
This day is all about the personal connection. So while we recommend that you to write your government representatives, volunteer and learn more about the issues that face the transgender and GNC communities, it’s important not to forget that TVOD is about people celebrating people.
Through efforts like the Equality Clinic, Augusta University Health is hoping to support the health care needs of LGBTQ communities. We strive to create LGBTQ-friendly clinic spaces staffed by physicians who are experts in the unique health care that their patients need, so patients can receive the care they deserve.
Augusta University Care Centers are right in your community with teams of skilled primary care and specialty care doctors. Make an appointment at one of our care centers today, visit augustahealth.org, or call 706-721-2273 (CARE).